When purchasing a Sheet Fiber Laser Cutting Machine, there are a number of things to consider, this goes far beyond the purchase price or service intervals. But what exactly has to be taken into consideration? This guideline might help.
1- What are the differences between a CO2 laser and a fiber laser?
As the name suggests, the CO2 laser uses a gas mixture that is based on carbon dioxide. This mixture, which usually consists of CO2, nitrogen, and helium, is electrically excited to generate the laser beam. Solid-state lasers are available in the form of fiber or disk lasers in similar power levels to their CO2 counterparts. As with the CO2 laser, the laser-active medium gives the fiber laser its name, which in this case is a glass-like or crystalline solid in the form of a fiber or a disk. While with the CO2 laser, the laser beam is guided through a beam path using optics, the beam of the fiber laser is generated in an active fiber and guided to the machine’s cutting head via a transport fiber. One of the key differences, apart from the laser medium as such, is its wavelength: With a fiber laser the laser wavelength is around 1µm and with a CO2 laser 10µm. The fiber laser’s shorter wavelength results in a higher absorption rate when cutting steel, stainless steel, and aluminum. A higher absorption rate means lower heat generation in the material that is being processed, which is, of course, a positive attribute. CO2 technology is ideal for all-rounders who process a wide variety of materials and thick metal sheets. A Cover and Exchange Table Laser Cutting Machine, on the other hand, is capable of processing the thin to thick range of sheet thicknesses with materials ranging from steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, right through to non-ferrous metals (copper and brass).
2- What are the benefits of a fiber laser compared to a CO2 laser?
The advantage of the CO2 laser is its superior cutting quality in thick steel (mild steel). The fiber laser, on the other hand, offers high cutting speeds and lower operating costs per hour. Fiber lasers require nowhere near as much energy as CO2 lasers, and their electrical efficiency is up to 5 times higher. What is more, the beam path of fiber lasers is simpler. Another big bonus is the more compact footprint: A fiber laser system with 8 to 10 kW laser power requires only about one-fifth of the floor space of a CO2 laser system of comparable power. Fiber laser technology has advanced rapidly in recent years. However, it is important to consider more factors than just the laser power and cutting speeds. Success in the sheet metal processing sector is dependent on an entire array of diverse and individual factors, all of which revolve around the core question: What is the optimal workflow? Even the most high-performance machine can only be cost-effective if its potential is fully exploited.